Bodies of European Climbers Found on Pakistan’s ‘Killer Mountain’

By Reuters
March 9, 2019World News
Bodies of European Climbers Found on Pakistan’s ‘Killer Mountain’
British climber Tom Ballard, right, and Italian Daniele Nardi in Islamabad, Pakistan. Italy's ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed the deaths of two missing European mountain climbers on Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-tallest mountain on March 9, 2019. (B.K. Bangash/AP)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The bodies of two European climbers, a Brit and Italian, who went missing while ascending Pakistan’s so-called “Killer Mountain” have been found, the Italian Ambassador to Pakistan said on Saturday, March 9.

Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club, said Pakistani authorities had done all they could to find the climbers.

Pakistan dispatched helicopters carrying four rescuers led by Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon, despite the closure of its airspace amid tensions with neighboring India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. He said foul weather hindered their efforts.

Two bodies of climbers found 1
Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, talks to The Associated Press regarding the search of two missing climbers, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on March 9, 2019. (Anjum Naveed/AP)

Italian Daniele Nardi and fellow mountaineer Tom Ballard were attempting a rare winter ascent of the 8,126-metre (26,660-ft) Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas, considered one of the hardest mountaineering feats in the world.

“With great sadness, I inform that the search for Nardi Daniele and Tom Ballard is over as…the search team have confirmed that the silhouettes spotted on Mummery at about 5,900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P. #NangaParbat,” Italian envoy Stefano Pontecorvo tweeted.

The bodies of the climbers are understood to be at a high altitude on Nanga Parbat’s treacherous Mummery route that no one has successfully climbed, meaning their bodies are unlikely to be recovered.

The two climbers were last heard from on Feb. 24, when Nardi, an experienced climber with a high profile in Italy, called his wife.

“We are stricken by grief in reporting that the search effort for Daniele and Tom is over,” Nardi’s staff said in a note of condolence on Nardi’s Facebook page.” ″The pain is great; confronted with objective facts, and after having done everything possible to find them, we have to accept what happened.”

Two bodies of climbers found
The snow-capped mountain of Nanga Parbat nicknamed “Killer Mountain” is seen in northern Pakistan. (Musaf Zaman Kazmi/AP)

Ballard is the son of famed British climber Alison Hargreaves who became the first woman to climb Mount Everest unaided in 1995 but died later the same year while descending from the summit of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-tallest mountain.

The first successful winter ascent of Nanga Parbat was made in February 2016. A Polish climber died on the mountain in January 2018, but his female French climbing partner was saved by climbers who had been airlifted from K2 to conduct a daring night-time rescue mission.

In June 2017, a Spanish man and an Argentinian were killed in an avalanche while trying to reach the summit.

Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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